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1. INTRODUCTION 2. MATERIAL ISSUES 3. RESISTIVE LIMITERS 4. SUPERCONDUCTOR AS VARIABLE RESISTORS
1 5 6 7
5. SHIELDED CORE SCFCL 6. COMPARISON BETWEEN RESISTIVE AND
SHIELDED CORE SCFCL
7. HYBRID CURRENT LIMITER 8. SATURABLE-CORE SCFCL 9. COMPARISON OF SCFCLs 10. IDENTIFICATION
19 20 21
10. CONCLUSION 11. REFERENCES
Damage from a short circuit is a constant threat to any electric power system. Insulation damaged by aging, an accident, or lightning strike can unloose immense fault currents, practically the only limit on their size being the impedance of the system between their location and power sources. At their worst, faults can exceed the largest current expected under normal load – the nominal current by a factor of 100, producing mechanical and thermal stresses in proportion to the square of the current’s value. All power system components must be designed to withstand short circuit stresses for a certain period determined by time needed for circuit breakers to activate (20-300 ms). The higher the fault currents anticipated the higher will be the equipment and also the maintenance cost. So there obviously is a big demand for devices that, under normal operating conditions, would have negligible influence on power system but in case of fault will limit the prospective fault current to a value close to the nominal. A device of this kind is called fault current limiter. According to the accumulated intelligence of many utility experts, an ideal fault current limit would: (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) Have zero impedance throughout normal operation Provide sufficiently large impedance under fault conditions Provide rapid detection and initiation of limiting action within less than one cycle or 16ms. Provide immediate (half cycle or 8ms) recovery of normal operation after clearing of a fault. Be capable of addressing tow faults within a period of 15 seconds. Ideal limiters would also have to be compact, light weight, inexpensive, fully automatic, and highly reliable besides having long life. In the past, the customary means of limiting fault currents have included artificially raising impedances in the system with air-coil reactors or with high stray impedance of transformers and generators, or splitting power-grid artificially, to
lower the number of power sources that could feed a fault current. But such measures are inconsistent with today’s demand for higher power quality, which implies increased voltage stiffness and strongly interconnected grids with low impedance. What is need is a device that normally would hardly affect a power system but during a fault would hold surge current close to nominal value, which is a fault current limiter. Until recently, most fault current limiter (FCL) concepts depended on mechanical means, on the detuning of inductance-capacitance (LC) resonance circuits, or the use of strongly non-linear materials other than High Temperature super conditions (HTS). None is without some drawbacks.
TRADITIONAL WAY OF FIXING FAULT CURRENT LIMITERS
Advantages * Proven * Reliable
Disadvantages * Needs zero current to break * Performances limited to 100000A * Costs a lot and has limited lifetime * Breeds inefficiency in system (high losses) * Breaks too often (have too low withstand able fault current) * Must be replaced by hands * Entails large voltage drop * Causes substantial power loss during normal operation * Reduces system reliability * Reduces operating flexibility * Adds cost of opening circuit breakers
High-impedance transformer Fuse
* Widely used * Simple
* Proven * Traditional
System reconfiguration (bus splitting)
* Proven * Preferred for fast-growing areas
Before examining super conducting fault current limiters some characteristics of non-linear material deserve a closer look.
Superconductors, because of their sharp transition from zero resistance at normal currents to finite resistance at higher current densities are tailor made for use in fault current limiters. Equipped with proper power controlled electronics, a super conducting limiter can rapidly detect a surge and taken and can also immediately recover to normal operation after a fault is cleared. Superconductors lose their electrical resistance below certain critical values of temperature, magnetic field and current density. A simplified phase diagram of a super conductor defines three regions.
In the innermost, where values for temperature, field, and current density are low enough, the material is in its true superconducting state and has zero resistance. In a region surrounding that area, resistively rises steeply as values for three variables so higher. Outside that area, receptivity is in essence independent of field and current density as with ordinary conductors. Until the discovery of high temperature superconductors (HTS) in 1986, the only materials known to super-conduct had to be cooled to below 23K (-2500C). The cost of cooling such low temperature superconductor (LTS) which is mostly metals, alloys, and intermetallics, makes their use in many possible applications commercially impractical. The HTS have a critical temperature in the comparatively balmy vicinity of 100 K and can be maintained at that temperature by means of liquid nitrogen (as opposed to helium) cooling. The relative immaturity of HTS materials processing and their complex ceramic structures render it difficult to draw them out into long and flexible conductors.
Low-temperature superconducting (LTS) wire has been available for several decades. Its ac losses have been reduced by the development of multi filament wire. The diameter of the filament is on the order of 0.1µm and they are decoupled by a highly resistive, normal conducting matrix, which also serves as thermal stabilization. Since any magnetic field interacts only with the very thin and decoupled filaments, the ac losses in the materials are tolerable even at extremely low temperatures (for LTS application, usually 4.2 K, boiling point of liquid helium). Kept this cold, the specific heat of LTS is very low, but the current carrying capability is very high (greater than 105 ACm2). Consequently, any conceivable SCFCL based on LTS would exceed its critical temperature within several hundred microseconds of a fault. By the same token, the material is prone to hot spots, which some tiny disturbance can trigger even at sub critical current values. Because of such properties, LTS material is predestined for the fast heating resistive design. A fast homogenous transition into the normal conducting state is supported by excellent thermal conductivity, which, together with the low specific heat, leads to rapid propagation of hot spots. While there is only one large program left in the low temperature type of SCFCL, more than 10 major projects are under way worldwide on high temperature type of device. The main reason is the lower HTS cooling cost. Essentially just three types of HTS materials are available; all made from bismuth (BSCCO) or yttrium-cuprate (YBCO) compounds. They are silver sheathed wire (based on Bi 2223), thin films (based on YBCO), and bulk material (based on Bi 2212, Bi 2223 or YBCO). Usable in varying degrees in either resistive or shielded core SCFCLs, these materials are very poor at conducting heat, unlike the LTS. In other words, hot spots don’t propagate fast in the HTS, so that electrical stabilization becomes a major concern. The HTS materials with the highest critical current are YBCO films. They are typically, 1µm thick and have a current criticality threshold at 77K of up to 2000KA cm-2. But it is very difficult produce YBCO films that are either long or extensive. Nevertheless, several groups are developing limiters based on these materials. Because of their high critical current and the need to conserve material, any economically justifiable design will perforce be of fast-heating type. The huge electric field-current density product in a fault will heat the HTS to the point of normal resistance setting in within a few hundred µs. SCFCLs may be categorized as resistive or shield core.
In the resistive SCFCL, the super conductor is directly connected in series with the line to be protected. To keep it superconducting, it is usually immersed in a coolant that is chilled by a refrigerator. Current leads are designed to transfer as little heat as possible from the outside to the coolant. In normal operation, the current and its magnetic field can vary, but temperature is held constant. The cross section of super conductor is such as to let it stay below critical current density. Since its receptivity is zero in this regime; the impedance of the SCFCL is negligible and does not interfere with the network. All the same, the superconductor’s impedance is truly zero only for dc currents. The more common ac applications are affected by two factors. First, the finite length of the conductor produces a finite reactance, which, however, can be kept low by special conductor architecture. Second, a superconductor is not loss free in ac operation, the magnetic ac field generated by the current produces so called ac losses--basically just eddy current losses. These are heavily influenced by the geometry of the conductor, and can be reduced by decreasing the conductor dimension transverse to the direction of local magnetic field. They barely contribute to total SCFCL impedance but dissipate energy in superconductor, thus raising cooling costs. In the case of a fault, the inrush of current and magnetic field take the super conductor into the transition region, between zero resistance and normal resistivity. The fast rising resistance limits the fault current to a value somewhere between the nominal current and whatever fault current otherwise would ensue. After some time, perhaps a tenth of a second, a breaker will interrupt the current. The behavior of resistive fault current limiter is largely determined by the length of the superconductor and the type of material used for it.
SUPERCONDUCTORS AS VARIABLE RESISTORS AND SWITCHES 7 7
Several anisotropic high temperature superconductor show critical current densities which are strongly dependent on the direction of an applied external magnetic field. The resistance of a sample can change by several orders of magnitude by applying a magnetic field. The current carrying capability of both low temperature and high temperature super conductors decreases with the application of a magnetic field. Some anisotropic high temperature superconductors, in particular the bismuth and thallium based superconductors, show a resistance that is highly dependent on the amplitude and direction of the applied field -. In general, this feature is undesirable, because the current carrying capability and, therefore the stability margin are lowered even by the self field of the current in the superconductor. Resistance Field Dependence of HTS Wires Anisotropic HTS materials show a dependence of the critical current density, and therefore the resistivity, on the direction of the applied magnetic field. With reference to Fig.1, if magnetic field is parallel to the basal ab plane, the critical current density is little
Fig. 1. Definition of axes, current and field direction for an HTS conductor
influenced by the applied external magnetic field. However, if the magnetic field is perpendicular to the ab plane, a steep exponential reduction with field in the critical current density is observed. By rotating a HTS wire sample along a-axis in a constant magnetic field, the voltage varies as a function of angle θ , as shown in Fig.2.
Fig. 2. Voltage drop in a BSCCO sample as a function of external magnetic field angle
The measured voltage drop is directly proportional to the resistance of the samples because the current is constant. The resistance of the sample shows, to a first approximation, a sinusoidal dependence on angle θ , which is formed by the c axis and the direction of the external field. The sample resistivity is the highest, when the field is parallel to the c axis (θ = 0). While the voltage drop and resistance values of the samples shown in Fig.2 (measurements made at 75k. Test sample was 1 cm long BSCCO tape with a silver sheath) are rather modest, larger values can be achieved with longer sample lengths. The V-1 characteristic of thallium based short sample is shown in Fig.3 for a field of variable strength parallel to the c-axis.
Fig. 3. Voltage-current relationship for a thallium based sample with the external field as a variable.
The sample, which is commercially available, is 10cm long and is formed in a meander line fashion. The superconductor is T12212 on a Lanthanum Aluminates substrate. The figure clearly shows that, with increasing magnetic field, the critical current of sample decreases. While sample can carry a current of 0.4A in superconducting state with no background field, the current carrying capability is reduced to 0.1A with an applied external field of 200 Gausses. The resistance of the sample in flux flow state is limited by the resistivity of the sheath or substrate material. The resistivity of sheath or substrate material should be high to achieve a large resistance ratio between the resistive and the superconducting state. Use of field dependent resistor in the form of a variable resistor and switch can be used for fault current limiters. A natural application of the low and high resistance state of a HTS wire is as a fault current limiter. A fault current limiter is a device that reduces current in short circuit in an ac system to a determined allowable lower value. During normal operation the HTS wire, installed in each phase of a power system has no external field applied. The resistance values of the super conducting were is extremely low. If a fault occurs in the system, the fault current is sensed and background field for the HTS wire is turned on, which results in a resistance increase in the circuit and in a reduction of the fault current. A simplified in diagram of a fault current limiter is given below.
Included in the figure is a current sensing unit which measures the initial current rise of the fault current and triggers the current flows for the background magnet. Controlling the value of the background field adjusts the resistance of the superconducting wire and the fault current level. 10 10
THE SHIELDED CORE SCFCL
The shielded-core fault current limiter, basically a shorted transformer, is the other basic category of SCFCLs. Here, the superconductor is connected in the line not galvanic ally but magnetically. The device’s primary coil is normal conducting and connected in series to the line to be protected, while the secondary side is superconducting and shorted. (Because of the inductive coupling between the line and superconductor the device is sometimes also called an inductive SCFCL).
Depending on the turn ratio between primary and secondary side, the nominal current and voltage will be transformed to the secondary side as the product of turn-ratio and current and ratio of voltage to turn ratio. The superconductor on the secondary has to be designed for these values. Assuming an ideal transformer, the shielded-core SCFCL will behave exactly like a resistive SCFCL. Since the turns of the secondary winding may be far fewer than on the primary winding, only short superconductors are needed and the total voltage drop in the cryogenic part of the device is small. In most approaches, in fact, there is just one secondary turn--that is, the superconducting winding is a tube as shown in figure.
In normal operation the shielding effect of the superconductor prevents the magnetic flux produced by the primary winding from entering the iron core. During a fault, the large increase in induced current, due to primary winding current, exceeds the critical current of the superconductor. The shielding effect is destroyed as flux enters the iron core, resulting in the insertion of a large current impedance into the line to be protected.
Shielded Core Parameters As with the resistive SCFCL, the fault-limiting behavior of the shielded core SCFCL can be tailored by varying the electric field induced along tube’s circumference during the fault. The decisive parameters for this SCFCL design are the number of primary turns and the height, diameter and wall thickness of the superconducting tube. The cross section of the iron core is designed almost as with a transformer. For efficient magnetic coupling between primary and secondary and optimal use of the amount of iron, the core should be designed to stay just below saturation during the fault. A given induced field in the superconductor, a given net-frequency and a given insulation distance between core and superconducting tube, determine the diameters of core and tube. The number of primary turns is then determined by nominal voltage. The tube’s cross-section (thickness times height), as in the case of resistive device, has to be chosen to ensure that, at the nominal current, the conductor stays superconducting. Again, remember that in normal operation the superconductor is exposed to a magnetic field--in this case, the sum of the field of primary coil and the field of the superconducting tube. With the cross-section fixed, the thickness and height of the tube can still be varied. Adding to its height in effect subtracts from the magnetic field and permits a thinner wall, so that ac losses are far less, on the other hand, the device is heavier. The device will show some small reactance under normal operation--essentially the short-circuit reactance of a transformer, proportional to the gap between coil and tube. Since this gap is determined by the thermal and electric insulation, it is generally difficult to keep the reactance as small as for the resistive device. The fact that the iron core is not exposed to magnetic fields in normal operation cuts costs in comparison with a real transformer. The core need not be made of expensive transformer steel, but of rather cheap and thick constructionsteel sheets. (But insulated sheets are still required for the job of interrupting screening currents in the iron during the fault).
Both the shielded core and resistive types of SCFCL use the same amount of superconductor material to achieve a given limitation behavior. This is because the rated power per volume of conductor is determined by the product of fault induced field and critical current, which is the same for both devices, assuming the same type of superconducting material is employed. The shielded-core limiter works only with ac currents and is much larger and heavier than the resistive SCFCL. But it needs no current leads, and uses short conductors with high rated current (or several superconductors in parallel). Its independence of current leads is especially attractive where the protection of highcurrent systems is involved. And avoidance of a very long superconductor with rather low rated current answers a problem that afflicts SCFCLs of the resistive type: hot spots. It was earlier assumed that while a fault current is being limited, the voltage drop is uniform throughout the conductor. But in practice superconductors tend to develop thermal instabilities, called hot spots, connected with the strong current and temperature dependence of their resistivity in the transition state. If a part of the superconductor sees a greater voltage drop than the rest, as a result of an inhomogeneity, this part will heat up faster; leading to an even greater voltage drop at that point and further accelerated heating. Burn-through can result. The common cure is to attach a normal conducting bypass in close electrical contact to the superconductor, so that the current may bypass the hot spot. Besides its electrical effect, the bypass adds to the thermal mass of the conductor and thus further enhances its stability. But of course such thermal stabilization of the super conductor reduces its total normal resistances, which might have to be lengthened in compensation.
HYBRID CURRENT LIMITER
The advantages of this scheme are the reductions of superconducting weight and current compared to the resistive system. It consists in a series resistive transformer whose primary winding is inserted in series in the line and whose secondary windings are connected to non-inductivity wound conducting coils in two essentially different ways as shown by figure.
Schemes for hybrid superconducting limiters
The transformer has two functions. A favorable ratio of the primary series turns over total secondary turns reduces the secondary current and hence the superconducting current compared to the line current. This point is important taking into account the difficulties encountered when a high ac current is passed through a superconducting cable. The transformer reduces the necessary superconducting volume needed compared to resistive limiter of same characteristics (line current and voltage). This possible reduction is brought about by the variation of the magnetic coupling between primary and secondary. The variation of magnetic coupling may be performed by a saturable magnetic circuit. In steady state operation, the primary and secondary winding should be magnetically coupled very well in order to reduce the self inductance of the device and hence its voltage drop under rated operation. Under fault operation the coupling is decreased in order to reduce the thermal dissipation in superconducting coils thanks to lower secondary voltages.
How does the magnetic coupling change? The magnetic circuit is not saturated under rated operation as the field is low in relation to the reduced voltage drop across the primary (some % of line voltage) and the coupling between the windings is good. Under fault operation, the high voltage across the primary (100% of line voltage, neglecting the line impedance) increase the field in the magnetic circuit, saturates it and the coupling is reduced in a natural and automatic way. The numerous secondary windings reduce the dielectric stresses on them and the superconducting windings. As the voltage derives from the magnetic field, these quantities, if sinusoidal, are in quadrature and the maximum voltages occur when the field is low and they are not affected by the reduction of the coupling under fault operation. So the secondary voltages are proportional to the ratio of the series turns. With only one secondary, the reduction by ten for the superconducting current leads to over-voltages reaching ten times the line voltage for scheme (b) and five for scheme (a). This is hardly acceptable. Several secondaries solve these problems but they increase the cryogenic losses related to current leads. Scheme (a) is particularly adapted for over-voltage reduction.
Unlike resistive and shielded-core SFCLs, which rely on the quenching of superconductors to achieve increased impedance, saturable-core SFCLs utilize the dynamic behavior of the magnetic properties of iron to change the inductive reactance on the AC line. The concept (shown in Figure) utilizes two iron cores and two AC windings for each phase. The AC windings are made of conventional conductors that are wrapped around the core to form an inductance in series with the AC line. The iron core also has a constant-current superconductive winding that provides a magnetic bias.
Under nominal grid conditions (when the AC current does not exceed the maximum rating for the local system), the HTS coil fully saturates the iron so that it has a relative permeability of one. To the AC coils, the iron acts like air, so the AC impedance (inductive reactance) is similar to that of an air-core reactor. Under fault conditions, the negative and positive current peaks force the core out of saturation, resulting in increased line impedance during part of each half cycle. The result is a considerable reduction in peak fault current. During a limiting action, the dynamic action of the core moving instantaneously in and out of saturation produces harmonics in the current waveform. However, under normal conditions, the voltage and current waveforms are basically unaffected by the saturable-core SFCL. Essentially, the saturable-core SFCL is a variable-inductance iron-core reactor that has the impedance of an air-core reactor under normal grid conditions and a very high impedance during fault events. Unlike resistive SFCLs, which may require time between limiting actions to cool the superconducting components, the
saturable-core approach can manage several actions in succession because the superconductor does not quench. In fact, the saturable-core FCL need not use a superconducting coil; however, the use of an HTS DC field winding reduces operating losses and makes the winding more compact. A major drawback of saturable-core SFCL technology is the volume and weight associated with the heavy iron core; however, manufacturers hope to improve this issue in future prototypes.
Resistance SCFCLs (fast heating type) Toshiba corp. Kawasaki, Japan together with Tokyo utility Tepco has built a 13.2 MVA (66KV/2000A) single phase prototype a 24 GVA device is under development. GEC Alstom along with Electrocute de France (EDF) developed and tested a 7.6 MVA (35KV/210A) single phase device.
American superconductor corp. (ASC) and sumitomo electric Industries ltd have produced ling lengths of silver sheathed wire based on Bi 2223 with a critical current at 77K on the order of 50 KAcm-2. This wire might suit cable, motor and transformer applications but is poorly suited for SCFCL because its high silver content gives it a low normal resistance. At this stage of material development the silver sheath must be rather thick if it is not to leak Bi2223 during processing. Thus very ling lengths are needed to build up the resistance for fault limitation. So used only for constant temperature resistive type of SCFCL. The situation will change if resistvity of silver matrix can be raised. A project along these lines led by ABB in partnership with ASC and Electricite de France has been launched to develop a current timely transfer. Siemens have demonstrated a resistive 100 KVA model base4d on YBCO Films. They were deposited on flat ceramic substrates, covered with a gold bypass, and patterned into meander. As a next step the company has planned to develop a IMVA device. Several groups are investigating methods for fabricating YBCO film on ling and flexible metallic substrates. Based on such preliminary flexible conductor a small FCL demonstrator has been built by sumitomo electric in co operation with Tepco. To date, the largest FCL: photo types designed around the high temperature superconducting phenomenon utilize so called bulk ceramic parts ABB has based a three phase 1.2 MVA prototype on Bi2212 material (critical current of about 2KAcm-2 at 77K). The device operated for one year under actual conditions in Swiss hydro plant.
The purpose of this paper was the study of surge current protection using superconductors. The SCFCL offers efficient advantages to power system and opens up a major application for super conducting materials.
2) KE Gray, DE flower-“superconducting fault current limiter”
3) IEEE transaction on Applied superconductivity – vol.3, march 1997
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